Friday 7 August 2015


            He was born in Libavitsh (Lyubavichi), Mohilev region, Byelorussia, into a well-off family.  He studied in religious primary school and yeshivas, later devoting himself to secular subject matter.  He subsequently moved to Vienna with the hope of being able to continue his studies.  He was not, however, to remain there for long and in the mid-1890s moved to Vilna.  He began writing storybooks in the style of Shomer and Bloshteyn [i.e., popular pulp fiction], but with greater pursuit of realistic truthfulness and under a certain influence from the Jewish community’s literary sensibilities at that time.  These short storybooks, which were published (all in two printer’s sheets and selling for  two kopeks for each copy) by the publishing houses of Mets and Rozenkrants and typeset in Vilna, included: Der yudisher giber, oder moyshele der yosem, a kleyne ertselung (The Jewish hero, or Moyshele the orphan, a short story) (1895); Di grushe oder der petsalinker goylem (The divorcée or the golem from Petsalink) (1895), 32 pp.; Bayn sotn in hand, oder der ferkoyfter hosn, a roman (The devil by the hand, or the sold groom, a novel) (Vilna, 1895), 112 pp.; Ayzikel lets, oder tsurik oyfn glaykhen veg (Isaac the clown, or back to a similar road) (Vilna, 1895), 32 pp.; Avremele bal-agole, a kleyne ertseylung (Little Abe, the wagon driver, a short story) (1896); Kopele der ganev, un berke un shmerke, tsvey ertseylungen (Kopele the thief, and Berke and Shmerke, two stories) (Vilna, 1896), 32 pp.; Der toes, a humorishe ertseylung (The error, a humorous story) (Vilna, 1896), 32 pp.; Nit keyn glaykhe poor, oder fun ṭoyt lebedig, a bild fun a yudishe froy (No like pair, or alive from dead, an image of a Jewish woman) (Vilna, 1896), 32 pp.; Alts tsu lieb a hosn, oder di meyuheses, an ertseylung (All because of a groom, or the elite woman, a story) (Vilna, 1896), 32 pp.; Der hazn un a mensh on a harts, tsvey ertseylungen (The cantor or a man without a heart, two stories) (Vilna, 1897), 32 pp.; Der kishef shpigele, a humoristishe ertseylung tsum lakhen (The enchanted little mirror, a humorous story for laughter) (Vilna, 1898), 20 pp.; Der shvartser feter, oder fun shlekhts tsu guts (The black uncle, or from bad to good) (Vilna, 1898), 40 pp.; A lebedige matseyve, a bild fun a yudishe tokhter (A living gravestone, an image of a Jewish girl) (Vilna, 1895), 32 pp.; Libe blaybt libe (Love remains love) (Vilna, 1898), 32 pp.; Tsvey khasanim mit eyn kale oder zey hobn sholem gemakht (Two grooms with one bride, or they made their peace) (Vilna, 1911), 31 pp.; Der gliklekher hosn, a romantish ertseylung (The happy groom, a romantic story) (Vilna, 1914), 32 pp.; Di kindershe libe, oder tfoy ale mansbilen, a romantishe ertseylung (A child’s love, or phooey to all men, a romantic story) (Vilna, n.d.), 31 pp.; A libe in vald, oder di zenendige yesoyme (Love in the woods, or to be an orphan) (Vilna, 1898), 32 pp.; A mansbil tor men nit gloyben, oder di narishe libe, a rikhtige mayse (Don’t believe a man, or foolish love, a true story); Di sheyne zingerin, oder der ferfirter man, a rirender roman (The beautiful singer, or the quarrelsome husband, a funny tale) (Vilna, 1898), 30 pp.; among others.  These story booklets were reissued for many years and spread widely especially among women readers.  Gildenblat studied to be a dentist and practiced his trade in Libavitsh, Lyozne, and Gorky, Mohilever region.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Noyekh Prilucki, Mame loshn (Mother tongue) (Warsaw, 1921), pp. 99,137; Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1927).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 157.]

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